Saying an equal number of Rak…ahs of Tarawih should be adhered to through out the month of Ramadaan
Q. It was asked that a person offered Tarawih as eleven Rak…ahs (units of Prayer) in the first 20 days of Ramadaan, and in the last 10 days of Ramadaan, he offered ten Rak'ah at the beginning of the night and ten at the end of it, followed by three units of Witr (i.e. a total of 23 Rak'ah). The question is that should the person had prayed eleven Rak'ah or twenty-three Rak'ah through out the month of Ramadaan or what he offered is acceptable?
A. Tarawih Prayer offered in Ramadan is a stressed Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet) performed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) who led his Sahabah (Companions) in offering it for many nights, and then he discontinued it lest that it should become obligatory on them. His Sahabah did it after his death (peace be upon him), and it is still offered to the present day.
As for the number of its Rak…ahs, there is no fixed authentic number. Some people claim that it is twenty-three; others claim that it is thirty-six; others claim more; and others claim less. During the era of …Umar, the Sahabah used to offer twenty-three Rak…ahs in the Messenger‘s Mosque (peace be upon him).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) never used to offer more than eleven or thirteen Rak…ahs, whether in Ramadan or at any other time. He (peace be upon him) did not fix a certain number of Rak…ahs for the people in Tarawih and Qiyam-ul-Layl; he (peace be upon him) used to exhort them to perform Qiyam-ul-Layl, especially in Ramadan, saying, Anyone who spends Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) in Qiyam, out of Iman (Faith) and Ihtisab (confident anticipation of Allah‘s Reward), will have their past sins forgiven. He (peace be upon him) did not fix a certain number of Rak…ahs.
This depends on the way a person offers Salah (Prayer); those who offer long Rak…ahs can offer a small number of Rak…ahs like what the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do, while those who offer short Rak…ahs out of mercy on people can offer a large number of Rak…ahs like what the Sahabah used to do during the era of …Umar.
There is nothing wrong in increasing the number of Rak…ahs in the last ten days of Ramadan in comparison to the first twenty days, and dividing them into two parts: one that is offered in the beginning of the night in the form of short Rak…ahs for Tarawih, and another that is offered in the end of the night in the form of long Rak…ahs for Tahajjud (optional late night Prayer). The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to exert himself more in worship during the last ten days of Ramadan than any other time. When the last ten days of Ramadan began, he (peace be upon him) used to gird himself for the purpose, stay up the night, devote himself to worship with abstention from conjugal intercourse, and wake his family up to seek to attain Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Decree).
A person who forbids increasing the number of Rak…ahs at the end of the month than its beginning contradicts the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Salaf (righteous predecessors). We should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and urge the people to follow it, not spread claims that decrease their interest in devoting themselves to worship in Ramadan.
May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!
Fatwas > Ramadan Fatwas > The opinion saying an equal number of Rak…ahs of Tarawih should be adhered to from the beginning to the end of Ramadan > Fatwa no. 19854
Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta‘
Member Member Member Deputy Chairman Chairman
Bakr Abu Zayd Salih Al-Fawzan `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan `Abdul-`Aziz Al Al-Shaykh `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz